At only 17, San Rafael High School Senior, Juan Rios, hit number one on the Spotify charts, peaking at 130k monthly listeners with his song, Let Me, featuring Peter Fenn. Rios is known by his fans as GrizzRivers, coming from Juan’s love for grizzly bears, and his last name meaning rivers in Spanish.
Rios has been making music since he was 13 years old, laughing that, though it’s corny, he started “right after [his] first girlfriend dumped [him].” At the Davidson Middle School after school Boys and Girls Club, his friend Will pushed for a music program within the club. As the only one interested in music, Rios was able to have the whole room to himself and spend every minute he could creating music, through the club and at home. At home, he taught himself the computer program Ableton Live 9 which he now uses to produce all his songs, and spends “enough time to never go out on the weekends” making music though it.
“There is no recipe” for making a song, Rios explained. He continued that the process for each song depends on what he is going through, and his feelings at the time. Rios plays the drums in many songs, and has been experimenting with putting his own vocals into new music.
In mid August, GrizzRivers released the song Let Me and by the beginning of September it had 200k listens and had hit number one on the “Spotify Viral 50 United States” playlist. Rios said that the popularity of the song was unexpected and opened up a lot of doors for him, explaining that it got him a job, a radio interview, and connections with important people in the music industry that have inspired him. Recently, Let Me also made Spotify’s “Best Of” playlist, which includes top songs of the year.
“Doing music as a job is definitely one of my dreams, and it happened.” Following this, Rios thanked his dog, Chewie, and his longtime friend, Lindsay, for their support in making his dreams come true.
Rios describes his musical “style” as a mix between Pop and R&B. Though he says “Pharrell [Williams] is insanely good,” his musical idols are Calvin Harris, Prince, Chet Baker, and Mura Masa.
You can expect a new song from GrizzRivers sometime in December, that may-or-may-not include his voice. Rios describes the song as “melodic and sad.”
In the long run, he hopes to make a career of music as well as start a charity with the money he makes.